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    Kilmarnock 1 – 0 Motherwell

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    Greek ‘keeper Xenodochov signs

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    Build-up: Kilmarnock v Motherwell

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    Robinson: We must be back to our best

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    Bigi: Can’t wait for next game

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    Pay gate available at Kilmarnock

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    Moult: There aren’t many clubs like this

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    Louis Moult sale to Preston agreed

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    Anderson in the middle at Killie

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    Kilmarnock ‘bring a gift’ appeal

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    Kilmarnock 1 – 0 Motherwell

    [tab:Match report]

    Grant Russell at Rugby Park

    Motherwell again slumped to defeat in an evenly-contested contest at Rugby Park, losing 1-0 thanks to Scott Boyd’s first half strike.

    Kilmarnock had goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald in particular to thank for keeping them in the lead, as he kept out a succession of golden chances for the Steelmen.

    Trevor Carson, Peter Hartley, Chris Cadden and Louis Moult continued to miss out through injury, and they were joined on the sidelines by Elliott Frear.

    Steven Hammell, Gael Bigirimana, Alex Fisher and Craig Tanner came in from the start as manager Stephen Robinson rang the changes from the 3-2 loss at Partick Thistle. Andy Rose, Allan Campbell and Deimantas Petravicius dropped to the bench.

    New goalkeeper Gennadios Xenodochov came in on the bench, filling the need for a replacement the team had been lacking at Tynecastle and Firhill.

    Within 11 minutes, the visitors carved out the first clear chance of the match.

    After patient build-up play, Bigirimana’s cross from inside on the right was perfectly floated over the heads of the centre backs to be met by Tanner, but the forward’s header was well blocked by MacDonald.

    Twelve minutes later, Kilmarnock had their first response. Youssouf Mulumbu tricked his way past three players before laying the ball right to Chris Burke. The winger’s cross found the head of Eamonn Brophy, but the ball went high over the bar.

    The majority of the rest of the first half saw the ball changing possession on plenty occasions, with both sides only carving out half chances with balls into the box that failed to come to much.

    But Motherwell arguably should have taken the lead with five minutes left until the break. Tidy play on the right between Tait and Bowman saw the ball break to Fisher 12 yards out. But, on his left foot, he couldn’t steer the ball far enough wide of the goalkeeper and his shot was blocked.

    The hosts then took their opportunity in immediate response. Burke’s corner from the left caused havoc in the six yard box. Griffiths was blocked coming to collect and the ball bounced around until it was poked home by Scott Boyd.

    Neither sides made changes at the break but Motherwell were forced into one within a minute of the restart. A head knock for Grimshaw led to him being replaced by Rose.

    The first chance fell to the Steelmen. After Rose’s initial shot was blocked in the area, Fisher’s shot on the turn was well kept out by MacDonald.

    Motherwell continued to knock on the door. Dunne’s header from a corner bounced wide as the visitors cranked up their pressure. And a constant stream of Bigirimana crosses went begging in the box.

    Sixty-six minutes in, Kilmarnock thought they had their second. The home fans were on their feet as Jordan Jones’ deflected shot looked to have sent the diving Griffiths the wrong way. But the ‘keeper just managed to get his legs to block the ball and keep it out of the net.

    Six minutes later, Newell came within a whisker of a first goal for the club. The substitute burst down the right and, at an angle, just narrowly missed seeing his shot creep inside the far post.

    Motherwell continued to push but struggled to create the late effort to get them a point and the match ended in another defeat for the Lanarkshire side.

    Motherwell: Griffiths, Tait, Dunne, Kipre, Hammell, Grimshaw (Rose 47), McHugh, Bigirimana (MacLean 80), Tanner, Fisher (Newell 63), Bowman.

    Subs not used: Xenodochov, Livingstone, Campbell, Petravicius.

    Kilmarnock: MacDonald, Taylor, Broadfoot, S Boyd, O’Donnell, Power (Jones 55), Dicker, Mulumbu, Burke (Erwin 85), Brophy (Kiltie 75), K Boyd.

    Subs not used: Bell, Waters, Hawkshaw, Thomas.

    [tab:As it happened]

     Alastair Reilly at Rugby Park

    Live Blog Kilmarnock v Motherwell
     

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    [tab:Reaction]

    Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson:

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    Greek ‘keeper Xenodochov signs

    Motherwell Football Club have signed goalkeeper Gennadios Xenodochov on a short-term deal.

    The Greek stopper has put pen to paper on a temporary contract that will keep him at the club until the middle of January.

    Xenodochov has been brought in to provide competition to Russell Griffiths in goals, with Trevor Carson still sidelined with a shoulder injury.

    “I feel good,” said the 29-year-old on his arrival at Fir Park, “When the team called me I didn’t think about anything. I said yes straight away, got on the plane and got here to help.”

    Xenodochov started his career with OFI Crete. After loan spells at lower league clubs in Crete, he moved to the mainland to play for Thrasyvoulos and Doxa Drama.

    Moves followed to Zakynthos and Larissa, the latter at which he received brief worldwide attention for scoring a header from a corner kick in the 96th minute in a match to earn his team a draw.

    In the 2016/17 season, he made 17 appearances in the Greek Superleague, keeping clean sheets against both Olympiacos and Panathinaikos.

    Motherwell have had to go without a recognised goalkeeper on their substitute bench for their last two matches, with SPFL rules blocking the return of Peter Morrison from a loan at Clyde despite the club having a recall option.

    Xenodochov will go straight into the squad for the trip to face Kilmarnock on Saturday afternoon.

     

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    Build-up: Kilmarnock v Motherwell

    The Steelmen will be aiming to bounce back from three consecutive defeats as they travel to Rugby Park on Saturday afternoon.

    The Fir Park side turned around a poor opening 30 minutes on Wednesday night to come within a goal of salvaging a point against Partick Thistle.

    But it was a case of too little too late for the side in claret and amber, who paid the price for some crucial mistakes in a rocky first half hour.

    Steve Clarke’s Kilmarnock, in contrast, are unbeaten in their last three games as they look to continue their strong run of form in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

    The Ayrshire outfit picked up their first home win in style with a 5-1 victory over Partick Thistle and are back at home for tomorrow afternoon’s encounter.

    With four points separating ‘Well in sixth from Killie in eighth, victory could be crucial for either side this weekend as Motherwell look to extend their lead and hold on the top six while Kilmarnock will be aiming to close the gap to a single point.

    And Fir Park manager Robinson believes his side can bounce back if they turn up and produce a performance he knows they’re capable of.

    The Northern Irishman looked ahead to tomorrow’s clash with Kilmarnock in an interview with MFC TV.

    He said: “We’re looking forward to it, obviously Steve Clarke has come in and he’s turned [Kilmarnock’s] form right around and they’ve only lost two games in nine.

    “We’re well aware of their threats and I’ve said it continually to our boys that if we turn up and we produce the performances that we can, it’s all about us and we must focus on that.”

    [pullquote]We know we’re missing players and if you take out the four players we’re missing it is going to make us weaker. But it’s up to people – step up to the plate now.[/pullquote]

     “There are some positives though, we scored again so we’ve now scored in 21 games out of 25 so there’s not a problem there.”

    One player who stepped up to the plate in the second half against Thistle was Gaël Bigirimana.

    The midfielder is a player Robinson hopes can make big strides over a busy December spell.

    And the Burundian insists ‘Well cannot dwell on the positives of the season so far and hopes to see a strong run of form ahead of the winter break.

    The 24-year-old spoke to MFC TV ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Kilmarnock and admitted that the club are in for another tough game.

    Bigirimana impressed on Wednesday night at Firhill but admitted competition for places has been both a blessing for the team and a challenge for the individuals.

    “For me it’s important that when I have a good game the next one comes quickly so I can build momentum and get that game time and that buzz from a match day,” the 24-year-old said. “I’m looking forward to it and hopefully I can help the team to get a victory.”

    “I’ve always said that competition is good for a team but sometimes individually it can be a challenge but that’s what footballers are paid for – to challenge ourselves, to do well for the club and for our own careers.

    “It’s been a brilliant start to the season and hopefully we can keep that going because it’s not about how good you start but how good you finish and that’s the most important thing – how we end the season and how we maintain that standard the staff have set for us.”

    Kilmarnock V Motherwell

    Saturday 16th December 2017
    3.00pm
    Rugby Park, Kilmarnock

    Tickets on sale from the Fir Park Ticket Office and cash turnstiles at Rugby Park 

    Admission prices are as follows:

    ADULTS£20
    STUDENT£15
    OVER 65 £15
    UNDER 21 £15
    UNDER 16 £5
    • Fans can pay in cash at the turnstiles or buy in advance from Fir Park

    If you can’t make it tomorrow, don’t miss the action by tuning in to mixlr.com/motherwellfc for live commentary or follow the match on Twitter @MotherwellFC

    You can see the match highlights on MFC TV’s YouTube channel, as well as full reaction and a match report right here on the official website.

  • Archive

    Robinson: We must be back to our best

    ‘Well boss Stephen Robinson believes his side can bounce back if they turn up and produce a performance to the best of their ability.

    The Northern Irishman looked ahead to tomorrow’s clash with Kilmarnock in an interview with MFC TV.

    The Fir Park manager said: “We’re looking forward to it, obviously Steve Clarke has come in and he’s turned [Kilmarnock’s] form right around and they’ve only lost two games in nine.

    [pullquote]We’re well aware of their threats and I’ve said it continually to our boys that if we turn up and we produce the performances that we can, it’s all about us and we must focus on that.[/pullquote]

    “We’re well aware of their threats and I’ve said it continually to our boys that if we turn up and we produce the performances that we can, it’s all about us and we must focus on that.”

    He added: “There are some positives though, we scored again so we’ve now scored in 21 games out of 25 so there’s not a problem there – but we know we’re missing players and if you take out the four players we’re missing is going to make us weaker. But it’s up to people – step up to the plate now.”

    Robinson also looked ahead to the January transfer window, and discussed the outbound Louis Moult, who is set for Preston North End after two-and-a-half seasons in claret and amber.

  • Archive

    Bigi: Can’t wait for next game

    Gaël Bigirimana can’t wait to pull on the claret and amber of Motherwell as he eyes a run of games ahead of the winter break.

    The Burundian spoke to MFC TV ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Kilmarnock and admitted the Steelmen cannot dwell on the positives of the season so far and instead must work together to turn around a poor run of form.

    Bigirimana impressed on Wednesday night at Firhill but admitted competition for places has been both a blessing for the team and a challenge for the individuals.

    [pullquote]For me it’s important that when I have a good game the next one comes quickly so I can build momentum and get that game time and that buzz from a match day.[/pullquote]

    “For me it’s important that when I have a good game the next one comes quickly so I can build momentum and get that game time and that buzz from a match day,” the 24-year-old said. “I’m looking forward to it and hopefully I can help the team to get a victory.”

    He added: “I’ve always said that competition is good for a team but sometimes individually it can be a challenge but that’s what footballers are paid for – to challenge ourselves, to do well for the club and for our own careers.

    “It’s been a brilliant start to the season and hopefully we can keep that going because it’s not about how good you start but how good you finish and that’s the most important thing – how we end the season and how we maintain that standard the staff have set for us.”

  • Archive

    Pay gate available at Kilmarnock

    Supporters travelling to Rugby Park on Saturday can either pay at the gate or buy their ticket in advance from Fir Park.

    The ticket office at Fir Park will be open until 4pm on Friday. It will be closed on Saturday.

    Motherwell fans will be situated in the Chadwick Stand on Rugby Road. 

    Motherwell supporters are also welcome in both the Sports Bar in the Frank Beattie Stand and the Park Hotel, which is adjacent to the stadium, prior to and after the match. Please note no children are allowed in the Sports Bar on a match day.

    Admission prices are as follows:

    ADULTS£20
    STUDENT£15
    OVER 65£15
    UNDER 21£15
    UNDER 16 £5
  • Archive

    Moult: There aren’t many clubs like this

    Fifty goals in 98 appearances for Motherwell in two and a half years at the club.

    It’s been a prolific spell for Louis Moult at Fir Park but his time in Scotland will come to an end in the January transfer window, after a move to Preston North End was agreed.

    Moult will remain with the club until January 1, at which point he will make the permanent switch to the English Championship.

    “It’s a strange one because it’s happened so quickly and it’s happened before January,” he told MFCTV.

    “You don’t normally get to say your goodbyes when you go.

    “It’s a little bit of a different one on a personal note but it’s a good one and I can show my appreciation to the football club, the fans and everyone around the club.”

    Moult joined from Wrexham in the summer of 2015 and immediately vowed to score goals for his new club.

    He kept to his word, netting 18 goals in both the 2015/16 and 2016/17 campaigns, before taking his total tally to 50 in the win at Aberdeen in November.

    “I’ve had so many highs here and I want to thank everyone,” he added. “Anyone coming to this football club in the future, there aren’t many football clubs like this place.”

    “This football club has been ridiculous for me in terms of personal, my family, on and off the pitch. It was the right move for me and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.

    “If you were to say I would have scored 50 goals in two-and-a-half seasons I would have laughed at you.”

  • Archive

    Louis Moult sale to Preston agreed

    Motherwell Football Club have agreed to transfer Louis Moult to English Championship side Preston North End for an undisclosed fee.

    The forward, who has scored 50 goals in 98 appearances in a prolific spell with the club, will move south on January 1 after agreeing a three-and-a-half year deal.

    The 25-year-old is currently injured but remains available for potential selection until that date if he returns to fitness.

    Moult, whose contract was due to expire in the summer, was offered several new deals to extend his stay in the Scottish Premiership but has elected to return south.

    “Louis has made a terrific contribution to this football club,” manager Stephen Robinson said. “We are sorry to see him go at this stage but he leaves with our thanks and best wishes.

    “The player made clear he would not be extending his stay after the end of the season. So when the offer came from Preston, we had to weigh up whether the money would benefit the club against the risk and reward of keeping him and then allowing him to leave on a free.

    “We accepted the offer based on that it would be best for all parties now that a club has agreed a contract with the player.”

    Moult moved to Motherwell from Wrexham in the summer of 2015. He scored 18 goals in both the 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons.

    He is currently the Scottish Premiership’s leading scorer this campaign with eight and has also netted six times in cup competitions.

    Motherwell chairman Jim McMahon said of the sale: “The board would like to sincerely thank Louis for his efforts and contribution during what has been a sterling two-and-a-half years at Fir Park.

    “We were obviously desperate for the player to stay with us and made him numerous offers over the last 12 months, the last of which being literally everything this club can realistically afford, given our size.

    “However, we also understand and appreciate the player was made a life-changing offer from Preston and we completely respect his wish and desire to move on now.

    “For our part, after also helping us reach our first League Cup final in 12 years, we have secured what we believe to be a very competitive price given the limited time left on his contract, with the ability to earn more in the future, which has worked well for us in previous transfers.

    “Our manager Stephen Robinson, along with his recruitment team, have been working on a replacement for some time now and when the window opens, we will look to strengthen our squad in a number of different areas.”

  • Archive

    Anderson in the middle at Killie

    Referee for the Steelmen’s trip to Rugby Park to face Kilmarnock is Euan Anderson.

    The 34-year-old will be handling his second Motherwell match of the season as Stephen Robinson’s men aim to bounce back from the 3-2 loss against Partick Thistle.

    His first appointment involving the Fir Parkers was a trip to Dingwall, in which the hosts edged 3-2 back in November.

    The official took charge of three ‘Well matches last term, including the 1-0 loss away to Aberdeen in March, the 2-1 loss against St Johnstone at Fir Park back in August and the dramatic Lanarkshire derby draw on Hogmanay.

    A solitary, late strike from Niall McGinn was enough to snatch all three points for Derek McInnes’ men at Pittodrie in the last ‘Well outing for Euan Anderson. 

    Prior to that, a last minute Louis Moult header snatched a point for the ten-man Fir Parkers at the SuperSeal stadium.

    A goal from Chris Cadden gave the Steelmen the lead in Anderson’s first ‘Well fixture of the 2016/17 campaign, but just after half time St Johnstone responded through Danny Swanson to draw level before Steven McLean snatched the win with 15 minutes remaining.

    The Dumbarton-based whistler was promoted to category one in the summer of 2011 and has taken charge of a number of Motherwell matches in the past, his first coming in the Scottish Cup fourth round defeat to Albion Rovers at New Douglas Park on November 2013 where a first goal of the season for Albion’s Gary Phillips ensured the Coatbridge outfit’s qualification to the next round of the cup.

    He was also in charge of Motherwell’s 2-1 win away to Kilmarnock in 2014/15 season where goals from Stephen Pearson and Lee Erwin secured three points for Well’ on this occasion with an Anthony Straker own-goal being the only blotch to the copybook on that day.

    The win was part of a three match win streak that Well’ put together on the backend of the 14/15 season, commencing with a 4-0 victory over Hamilton and a 5-0 victory over St Mirren to bookend the Kilmarnock fixture.

    Euan will be assisted by Sean Carr and Paul O’Neill on fourth official duties.  

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    Kilmarnock ‘bring a gift’ appeal

    Supporters heading to Rugby Park for the match against Kilmarnock this weekend are encouraged to contribute to the club’s Bring a Gift appeal.

    The Ayrshire side have joined up with the East Ayrshire Churches Homelessness Action (EACHa), the Salvation Army, KFCSA and the Killie Trust.

    The Christmas gift programme will take place ahead of the match on Saturday, with fans encouraged to donate a present to less fortunate children throughout East Ayrshire.

    A collection centre will be set up around the Moffat Stand area on the day. Any gifts would be greatly appreciated with presents for children under seven or over 12 especially welcome.

    Anyone taking part is asked to indicate whether the gift is intended for a boy or girl, as well as the age group. Gift wrapped presents would also be greatly appreciated.

    Janice Grant, EACHa secretary, said: “Many young people, who may have very little in their Christmas stocking, will enjoy a brighter Christmas Day thanks to the generosity of football supporters. Your kindness really makes a difference.”